Travelling Australia - Journal 2010
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1 February 2010 - Beckom Rest Area to Wangaratta
After yesterday afternoon's heat the night was pleasantly cool and we slept well with one or two interruptions caused by passing vehicles.

Back on the Newell Highway, traffic was very light in both direction. From Beckom the highway runs past large paddocks of wheat stubble being grazed by sheep. We had already noted how little roadkill there was on these roads. A few days ago we had seen a couple of foxes as the total roadkill for the day and now we were seeing about three kangaroos a day.

South of Narrandera we stopped at a rest area for a drink. The land further south of Narrandera, towards Jerilderie becomes even flatter and more open. Horses and cattle were fairly common but sheep were no longer seen; alpacas were grazing at the edge of Jerilderie. The weather had been sunny but with a thin layer of cloud making shadows unsharp. The temperature gradually increased all morning to be about 33° by the time we reached Tocumwal.

Approaching Finley (between Jerilderie and Tocumwal) we slowed to negotiate a herd of cattle meandering along the highway. Fortunately they were going in the opposite direction to us so we did not have to keep moving to pass them; we pretty well just sat still while they moved past. I always find it slightly odd to see traffic on a major interstate highway give way to livestock.

This is an irrigation area and it was pleasing to see that several of the main feeder channels were full, or at least had some water in them. On our last visit here the main service channels (except for Mulwala Number One which is the primary feed for the whole region) were dry.

After crossing the border into Victoria we stopped at the Big Strawberry for lunch and strawberry take-aways. Stopping at the Big Strawberry is a regular event when travelling through this part of Australia.

Our aim for this part of the trip was to travel the length of the Great Alpine Road from Wangaratta to Bairnsdale so we turned off the Newell Highway onto the Murray Valley Way and drove, via Yarrawonga, to Wangaratta where we checked in at the North Cedar Holiday Village then went to the excellent Wangaratta Information Centre for details on the Great Alpine Road.

The day was hot and we retreated to the air-conditioned caravan as soon as we could for the rest of the afternoon.

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